NELSON TRAILS

 

Dun Mountain Trail

Dun Mountain Trail is one of the must-do walks or rides in Nelson. The trail follows the alignment of the historic Dun Mountain Railway, New Zealand’s first railway, which was in operation between 1862 and 1901 to transport chromite extracted from mines on the eastern slopes of Wooded Peak. The trail ventures through the dramatic landscape of the Dun Mountain Mineral Belt, which is characterised by stunted vegetation and reddish-brown soil and rocks. Traditionally a great day walk, the trail is now an increasingly popular biking circuit and is now categorised as one of New Zealand’s Great Rides. Its appeal stems from the fascinating landscape it traverses, as well as its achievable length and ability to be completed from central Nelson. Dun Mountain Trail also provides access to Rocks Hut and Te Araroa Trail.

Details (Full Circuit)
Length 37.4 km return circuit to Brook St via Tantragee Saddle; 39.7 km return circuit to Brook St via Maitai Valley
Time Required 3-4 hr for MTB
Trail Type Shared track
Physical Difficulty Moderate   
Technical Difficulty Intermediate   
Uses Walking, trail running and MTB
Direction Brook Valley start for MTB, either for walkers and trail runners
Max Elevation 878 m
Dog Access Dogs are prohibited on Dun Mountain Trail
Tracks connecting to Dun Mountain Trail

Codgers MTB Park

  MTB

Fringed Hill

   Walking, trail running and MTB

Jenkins Hill

   Walking, trail running and MTB

Black Diamond Ridge

   Walking, trail running and MTB

Wooded Peak Circuit

  Walking and trail running

Dun Mountain Circuit

  Walking and trail running

Rocks Hut

  Walking and trail running

Maungatapu Circuit

  Walking and trail running

Maitai Cave

  Walking

Access

  5-20 min from central Nelson

 

Dun Mountain Trail can be completed as a full circuit or in sections. As it links with many other tracks in the surrounding ridges and valleys, routes of varying length and difficulty can be created. Given the length of the trail there are multiple locations you can start from. A full circuit is best ridden in an anti-clockwise direction, i.e. starting in Brook Valley, as you can take advantage of the gentle gradient of the former rail alignment. The three main sections of the trail are Brook Valley to Third House, Third House to Coppermine Saddle and Coppermine Saddle to Maitai Dam. The trail is shared by both walkers and bikers; bikers should always be cautious of walkers and should give way to them, particularly when descending at speed. Dogs are prohibited on the trail.

 

Starting in Brook Valley

Tantragee car park is a good place to park if you are driving to do the trail. From here you have the option to head back down Brook Street to the start of Codgers Track, go up Tantragee Road, or climb the walkway that heads straight uphill from the car park. Both Codgers Track and Tantragee car park are less than 15 minutes’ ride from the central city.

 

Starting in Maitai Valley

Begin on the Maitai side of Tantragee Saddle, at the car park next to Maitai Motor Camp. This reduces the total distance of a full circuit as you won’t need to bike the whole way down the Maitai Valley into central Nelson, and back up the Brook Valley (or back over Tantragee Saddle) to return to your car.

 

Alternatively, you could use the car park at the Maitai Valley Road end before the dam. This the best place to start if you are looking to do a return trip to Dun Mountain summit or Coppermine Saddle. It’s also a good place to be dropped off if you have transport at the other end.

If any layers fail to load, try clearing your cache and refreshing the page.

 

Dun Mountain Trail

Dun Mountain Trail is one of the must-do walks or rides in Nelson. The trail follows the alignment of the historic Dun Mountain Railway, New Zealand’s first railway, which was in operation between 1862 and 1901 to transport chromite extracted from mines on the eastern slopes of Wooded Peak. The trail ventures through the dramatic landscape of the Dun Mountain Mineral Belt, which is characterised by stunted vegetation and reddish-brown soil and rocks. Traditionally a great day walk, the trail is now an increasingly popular biking circuit and is now categorised as one of New Zealand’s Great Rides. Its appeal stems from the fascinating landscape it traverses, as well as its achievable length and ability to be completed from central Nelson. Dun Mountain Trail also provides access to Rocks Hut and Te Araroa Trail.

Details (Full Circuit)
Length 37.4 km return circuit to Brook St via Tantragee Saddle; 39.7 km return circuit to Brook St via Maitai Valley
Time Required 3-4 hr for MTB
Trail Type Shared track
Physical Difficulty Moderate   
Technical Difficulty Intermediate   
Uses Walking, trail running and MTB
Direction Brook Valley start for MTB, either for walkers and trail runners
Max Elevation 878 m
Dog Access Dogs are prohibited on Dun Mountain Trail


If any layers fail to load, try clearing your cache and refreshing the page.

 

Access

  5-20 min from central Nelson

 

Dun Mountain Trail can be completed as a full circuit or in sections. As it links with many other tracks in the surrounding ridges and valleys, routes of varying length and difficulty can be created. Given the length of the trail there are multiple locations you can start from. A full circuit is best ridden in an anti-clockwise direction, i.e. starting in Brook Valley, as you can take advantage of the gentle gradient of the former rail alignment. The three main sections of the trail are Brook Valley to Third House, Third House to Coppermine Saddle and Coppermine Saddle to Maitai Dam. The trail is shared by both walkers and bikers; bikers should always be cautious of walkers and should give way to them, particularly when descending at speed. Dogs are prohibited on the trail.

 

Starting in Brook Valley

Tantragee car park is a good place to park if you are driving to do the trail. From here you have the option to head back down Brook Street to the start of Codgers Track, go up Tantragee Road, or climb the walkway that heads straight uphill from the car park. Both Codgers Track and Tantragee car park are less than 15 minutes’ ride from the central city.

 

Starting in Maitai Valley

Begin on the Maitai side of Tantragee Saddle, at the car park next to Maitai Motor Camp. This reduces the total distance of a full circuit as you won’t need to bike the whole way down the Maitai Valley into central Nelson, and back up the Brook Valley (or back over Tantragee Saddle) to return to your car.

 

Alternatively, you could use the car park at the Maitai Valley Road end before the dam. This the best place to start if you are looking to do a return trip to Dun Mountain summit or Coppermine Saddle. It’s also a good place to be dropped off if you have transport at the other end.

Tracks connecting to Dun Mountain Trail

Codgers MTB Park

  MTB

Fringed Hill

   Walking, trail running and MTB

Jenkins Hill

   Walking, trail running and MTB

Black Diamond Ridge

   Walking, trail running and MTB

Wooded Peak Circuit

  Walking and trail running

Dun Mountain Circuit

  Walking and trail running

Rocks Hut

  Walking and trail running

Maungatapu Circuit

  Walking and trail running

Maitai Cave

  Walking

Dun Mountain Trail

Brook Valley to Third House

Details
Length 11.4 km (via Codgers Track) or 10.3 km (from car park)
Time Required 2 hr 30 min-3 hr (one way, walking)
Trail Type Shared track
Physical Difficulty Moderate   
Technical Difficulty Easy   
Uses Walking, trail running and MTB
Direction Either
Start Elevation 50 m
Finish Elevation 660 m
Dog Access Dogs are prohibited on Dun Mountain Trail


If any layers fail to load, try clearing your cache and refreshing the page.

 

Connections

Codgers MTB Park

  MTB

Fringed Hill

   Walking, trail running and MTB

Jenkins Hill

   Walking, trail running and MTB

Description

Begin by heading up Codgers Track, which follows the historic rail alignment from the side of Brook St. This will take you along the bottom of Codgers MTB Park and nearly to the top of Tantragee Saddle. Alternatively you can begin at the car park at the start of Tantragee Road, where a walkway climbs uphill for 1 km to link with the original rail alignment.

 

The trail steadily gains elevation along the western flank of Fringed Hill, passing through plantation forestry and gullies of native scrub. As the track follows the rail alignment, the gradient is gentle. At Bullock Spur there is a good lookout and picnic spot, and at the head of the following gully (Cummins Creek) is the site of First House. After 4.5 km the intersection known as ‘Four Corners’ is reached (where Fringed Hill Classic connects on the right).

 

After Four Corners the trail enters beech forest and continues on the uphill side of the Brook-Waimarama Sanctuary fence. The trail crosses a large slip that has caused issues over the last few years. The steep hillside means it will likely continue to cause occasional closures and force detours along the sanctuary fence line. The trail continues through a few railway cuttings and the site of Second House. Third House is 4.3 km beyond Four Corners, on a point on the ridge once known as Wairoa Saddle. The existing shelter is not the original building; the latter was used as a workshop for the railway and storage depot. Third House is also the connection point for the sanctuary fence line road, which you can follow through to Jenkins Hill and Marsden Valley.

Dun Mountain Trail
Brook Valley to Third House
Details
Length 11.4 km (via Codgers Track) or 10.3 km (from car park)
Time Required 2 hr 30 min-3 hr (one way, walking)
Trail Type Shared track
Physical Difficulty Moderate   
Technical Difficulty Easy   
Uses Walking, trail running and MTB
Direction Either
Start Elevation 50 m
Finish Elevation 660 m
Dog Access Dogs are prohibited on Dun Mountain Trail


If any layers fail to load, try clearing your cache and refreshing the page.

 

Description

Begin by heading up Codgers Track, which follows the historic rail alignment from the side of Brook St. This will take you along the bottom of Codgers MTB Park and nearly to the top of Tantragee Saddle. Alternatively you can begin at the car park at the start of Tantragee Road, where a walkway climbs uphill for 1 km to link with the original rail alignment.

 

The trail steadily gains elevation along the western flank of Fringed Hill, passing through plantation forestry and gullies of native scrub. As the track follows the rail alignment, the gradient is gentle. At Bullock Spur there is a good lookout and picnic spot, and at the head of the following gully (Cummins Creek) is the site of First House. After 4.5 km the intersection known as ‘Four Corners’ is reached (where Fringed Hill Classic connects on the right).

 

After Four Corners the trail enters beech forest and continues on the uphill side of the Brook-Waimarama Sanctuary fence. The trail crosses a large slip that has caused issues over the last few years. The steep hillside means it will likely continue to cause occasional closures and force detours along the sanctuary fence line. The trail continues through a few railway cuttings and the site of Second House. Third House is 4.3 km beyond Four Corners, on a point on the ridge once known as Wairoa Saddle. The existing shelter is not the original building; the latter was used as a workshop for the railway and storage depot. Third House is also the connection point for the sanctuary fence line road, which you can follow through to Jenkins Hill and Marsden Valley.

Connections

Codgers MTB Park

MTB

Fringed Hill

Walking, trail running and MTB

Jenkins Hill

Walking, trail running and MTB

Dun Mountain Trail

Third House to Coppermine Saddle

Details
Length 6.3 km
Time Required 1 hr 30 min-2 hr (one way, walking)
Trail Type Shared track
Physical Difficulty Moderate   
Technical Difficulty Easy   
Uses Walking, trail running and MTB
Direction Either
Start Elevation 660 m
Finish Elevation 878 m
Dog Access Dogs are prohibited on Dun Mountain Trail


If any layers fail to load, try clearing your cache and refreshing the page.

 

Connections

Black Diamond Ridge

   Walking, trail running and MTB

Wooded Peak Circuit

  Walking and trail running

Dun Mountain Circuit

  Walking and trail running

Rocks Hut

  Walking and trail running

Description

Beyond Third House the trail continues to Junction Saddle (682 m), where the rail alignment meets the ridge. This is the start/finish of Black Diamond Ridge Track (giving access to Sunrise Ridge). Wooded Peak Track begins at Junction Saddle, climbing Wooded Peak (1111 m) and linking back with Dun Mountain Trail at Windy Point.

 

Soon after Junction Saddle the site of an 1863 lime kiln is passed. The kiln extracted limestone from an exposed section of the Wooded Peak limestone formation that the trail crosses. The site of Fourth House is 3.1 km beyond Junction Saddle and soon after the beech forest gives way to the coarse scrub of the mineral belt. Windy Point (845 m) is reached a few hundred metres later, where Wooded Peak Track connects from the left. The stunted vegetation allows expansive views across the mineral belt. Most of the chromite mines were located either side of the trail between Windy Point and Coppermine Saddle, the most obvious surviving evidence of which are the spoil piles. The trail crosses several rock chutes, with many boulders positioned precariously on the uphill side of the track. Look out for the surviving railway sleepers along this section.

 

Coppermine Saddle (878 m) is 1.1 km from Windy Point. Here there is a track junction that gives access to Dun Saddle, Dun Mountain Summit, Rocks Hut and Te Araroa Trail. There is a toilet and a signpost indicating the times and distances to the next locations. Coppermine Saddle is the furthest point the railway was constructed to.

Dun Mountain Trail
Third House to Coppermine Saddle
Details
Length 6.3 km
Time Required 1 hr 30 min-2 hr (one way, walking)
Trail Type Shared track
Physical Difficulty Moderate   
Technical Difficulty Easy   
Uses Walking, trail running and MTB
Direction Either
Start Elevation 660 m
Finish Elevation 878 m
Dog Access Dogs are prohibited on Dun Mountain Trail


If any layers fail to load, try clearing your cache and refreshing the page.

 

Description

Beyond Third House the trail continues to Junction Saddle (682 m), where the rail alignment meets the ridge. This is the start/finish of Black Diamond Ridge Track (giving access to Sunrise Ridge). Wooded Peak Track begins at Junction Saddle, climbing Wooded Peak (1111 m) and linking back with Dun Mountain Trail at Windy Point.

 

Soon after Junction Saddle the site of an 1863 lime kiln is passed. The kiln extracted limestone from an exposed section of the Wooded Peak limestone formation that the trail crosses. The site of Fourth House is 3.1 km beyond Junction Saddle and soon after the beech forest gives way to the coarse scrub of the mineral belt. Windy Point (845 m) is reached a few hundred metres later, where Wooded Peak Track connects from the left. The stunted vegetation allows expansive views across the mineral belt. Most of the chromite mines were located either side of the trail between Windy Point and Coppermine Saddle, the most obvious surviving evidence of which are the spoil piles. The trail crosses several rock chutes, with many boulders positioned precariously on the uphill side of the track. Look out for the surviving railway sleepers along this section.

 

Coppermine Saddle (878 m) is 1.1 km from Windy Point. Here there is a track junction that gives access to Dun Saddle, Dun Mountain Summit, Rocks Hut and Te Araroa Trail. There is a toilet and a signpost indicating the times and distances to the next locations. Coppermine Saddle is the furthest point the railway was constructed to.

Connections

Black Diamond Ridge

Walking, trail running and MTB

Wooded Peak Circuit

Walking and trail running

Dun Mountain Circuit

Walking and trail running

Rocks Hut

Walking and trail running

Dun Mountain Trail

Coppermine Saddle to Maitai Valley

Details
Distances 10 km Coppermine Saddle to Maitai Dam; 3.8 km Maitai Dam to Smiths Ford; Smiths Ford; 7.6 km Maitai Dam to start of Codgers via Tantragee Saddle
Time Required 2-3 hr (one way, walking)
Trail Type Shared track
Physical Difficulty Moderate    (going down)  or Hard     (going up)
Technical Difficulty Intermediate   
Uses Walking, trail running and MTB
Direction Downhill for MTB, either for walkers and runners
Start Elevation 878 m
Finish Elevation 120 m (Maitai Dam) or 90 m (Smiths Ford)
Dog Access Dogs are prohibited on Dun Mountain Trail


If any layers fail to load, try clearing your cache and refreshing the page.

 

Connections

Dun Mountain Circuit

  Walking and trail running

Maungatapu Circuit

  Walking and trail running

Maitai Cave

  Walking

Teal Saddle and Central Road

   Trail running and MTB

Description

From Coppermine Saddle the trail descends through a small patch of beech forest and sidles the western flank of Dun Mountain. The old trail between Maitai Dam and Coppermine Saddle was best described as a ‘rock garden’ with large boulders, deep ruts and drainage channels on the trail edges making for a technical and bone-rattling descent. Several years ago the trail was smoothed and realigned to reduce the steep gradient, which now sees it flowing through numerous zig-zags as descends into the valley of the Maitai River South Branch. Bikers should be very cautious of walkers through this section.

 

As the trail descends the vegetation transitions from mineral belt scrub to kānuka and then into beech and ferns. Cross the footbridge over Maitai South Branch where Maitai Cave track connects on the left. Continue through beech forest alongside the river until the trail widens into a 4WD road. Peaking Ridge Track connects on the left (it is not signposted) and Bob Taylor Road soon after. From here it’s an easy 1 km back to the footbridge across to Maitai Valley Road car park.

 

Instead of crossing the footbridge, you can follow the Pipeline Track on the true left of the Maitai River to Smiths Ford (3.8 km), before following the road for the rest of the distance down the valley. Alternatively, you can cross the footbridge and descend the Maitai Valley via the road. If you are riding the whole way down Maitai Valley to central Nelson, Maitai Valley Road is a better option than Maitai River Walkway as the latter is narrow and often busy with walkers.

Dun Mountain Trail
Coppermine Saddle to Maitai Valley
Details
Distances 10 km Coppermine Saddle to Maitai Dam; 3.8 km Maitai Dam to Smiths Ford; Smiths Ford; 7.6 km Maitai Dam to start of Codgers via Tantragee Saddle
Time Required 2-3 hr (one way, walking)
Trail Type Shared track
Physical Difficulty Moderate    (going down)  or Hard     (going up)
Technical Difficulty Intermediate   
Uses Walking, trail running and MTB
Direction Downhill for MTB, either for walkers and runners
Start Elevation 878 m
Finish Elevation 120 m (Maitai Dam) or 90 m (Smiths Ford)
Dog Access Dogs are prohibited on Dun Mountain Trail


If any layers fail to load, try clearing your cache and refreshing the page.

 

Description

From Coppermine Saddle the trail descends through a small patch of beech forest and sidles the western flank of Dun Mountain. The old trail between Maitai Dam and Coppermine Saddle was best described as a ‘rock garden’ with large boulders, deep ruts and drainage channels on the trail edges making for a technical and bone-rattling descent. Several years ago the trail was smoothed and realigned to reduce the steep gradient, which now sees it flowing through numerous zig-zags as descends into the valley of the Maitai River South Branch. Bikers should be very cautious of walkers through this section.

 

As the trail descends the vegetation transitions from mineral belt scrub to kānuka and then into beech and ferns. Cross the footbridge over Maitai South Branch where Maitai Cave track connects on the left. Continue through beech forest alongside the river until the trail widens into a 4WD road. Peaking Ridge Track connects on the left (it is not signposted) and Bob Taylor Road soon after. From here it’s an easy 1 km back to the footbridge across to Maitai Valley Road car park.

 

Instead of crossing the footbridge, you can follow the Pipeline Track on the true left of the Maitai River to Smiths Ford (3.8 km), before following the road for the rest of the distance down the valley. Alternatively, you can cross the footbridge and descend the Maitai Valley via the road. If you are riding the whole way down Maitai Valley to central Nelson, Maitai Valley Road is a better option than Maitai River Walkway as the latter is narrow and often busy with walkers.

Connections

Dun Mountain Circuit

Walking and trail running

Maungatapu Circuit

Walking and trail running

Teal Saddle and Central Road

Trail running and MTB

Updated 28 February 2019